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Licensing Doctors of Optometry and Regulating the Practice of Optometry

History of the Optometry Board

1921 
The Texas State Board of Examiners in Optometry is created by the Thirty-Seventh Legislature. All persons currently practicing optometry were given 120 days after appointment of the first board by the governor to file a declaration with the Board to continue practicing and their "intention and purpose to take such examination in optometry as the Board may prescribe." The Optometry Act defines the practice of optometry and requires passing an examination and registration with the Board and each county in which the licensee practices. Early License
One of the First Licenses Issued by the Board
1925
Optometry Act is amended to specifically define terms used in original law including the scope of practice of optometry. The legislature determines that "[i]n the interest of public health, welfare, safety and comfort . . . ," a personal eye examination is required before an ophthalmic prescription may be issued. License renewal fee is set at $5.00.
 
1931
Early Ledger 
Board membership is increased from five members to six members, each member serving a six year term.
 
1939
Specific actions which authorize the Board to cancel, revoke or suspend a license are added to the law, including "unfit or incompetent by reason of negligence;" fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in the practice of optometry;" "licensee is an habitual drunkard or is addicted to the use of morphine, cocaine or other drugs having similar effect;" and "wilfully or repeatedly violat[ing] any of the provisions of this act." Many of these provisions survive intact in the current Optometry Act. The Act requires license applicants to pass an examination, and either graduate from a board approved optometry school or complete four consecutive years of study in an optometrist's office in Texas. Reciprocity provisions in the Act are repealed. Practicing optometry from house to house is prohibited.
 
 
1943 Account Ledger ($5.00 Renewal Fee)
 
1945
County File Stamp
 
All applicants must now graduate from a board approved optometry school. A provision is made in the law for persons who have previously registered with the Board for study in an optometrist's office. License renewal fee increased to $10.00.
 
Registration of License. County of Residence and Practice Recorded on Reverse of License.
 
1955
First graduate of the University of Houston College of Optometry is licensed by the Board. The school was the only college of optometry in Texas until 2009.University of Houston Logo
 
1957
Statute amended to clarify rights and duties of ophthalmic dispensers. Board's statutory authority to promulgate rules regarding initial eye examination, advertising and corporate practice is upheld by Texas Supreme Court. License Renewal Record
 
1967
Board's authority to promulgate rules regarding fee splitting, practice under an assumed name, and display of professional name on office is upheld by Texas Supreme Court.
License Renewal Record Prior to Computer Databases
 
1969
Supreme Court BriefThe 61st Legislature abolishes the State Board of Examiners and creates the Texas Optometry Board. Major revisions are made to the Optometry Act, including limiting rule making power to procedural rules. Many of the Board Rules in effect at this time are now included in the 1969 Optometry Act.
1975
Mandatory Continuing Education requirement added to Optometry Act.
1977
Executive Director hired as full time employee.
1981
The agency undergoes first Sunset Review. Act amended so that rule making power is no longer limited to procedural rules. Public members (3) added to Board which now has 9 members.
 
Brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in a lawsuit by a Board Member.
 
1991
Amendments to Act substantially expand the scope of optometry to include the practice of therapeutic optometry. Licensees may now examine or diagnose visual defects, abnormal conditions and diseases of the eye and adnexa, and administer drugs. Optometrists already licensed were required to take additional education and pass national test prior to making application for therapeutic optometrist license. All new licensees receive a therapeutic license. Attorney General Opinion
Envelope Containing Attorney General Opinion Holding Therapeutic Drug Rule 280.5 Valid and Constitutional: DM-152
1993
Agency undergoes Sunset Review. House Bill 1479 amends statute to include additional conduct which subjects licensee to disciplinary action, to allow Board to impose administrative penalties, to require disciplinary hearings to be heard by the State Office of Administrative Hearings, to require tonometry in the initial eye examination, and to require training for Board Members. The amendments add provisional and limited clinical licenses and add an inactive license status. Licensure by endorsement is repealed and the continuing education requirement is increased to 16 hours.
 
Board Office
 
1995
Board offices moved to current location in downtown Austin at Guadalupe and Third Street.
 
 
 
 
1996
Board accepts all examinations conducted by National Board of Examiners in Optometry. State clinical examination is no longer offered. All applicants must take Parts I, II, and III, and the TMOD exam given by the NBEO. The Board continues to prepare the Jurisprudence Examination.Score Sheet
 
 
1998
Number of licensed optometrists exceeds 3,000.
 
Score Sheet for Last Board Clinical Exam
 
 
1999
Amendments to act add a new license: Optometric Glaucoma Specialist. These licensees may treat glaucoma with the co-management of ophthalmologists, and prescribe some oral prescription medications as well as anti-glaucoma topical medications. Applicants for license must be therapeutic optometrists who have completed a Board approved course and examination as well as other requirements. The Optometry Act is reorganized as Chapter 351 of the Texas Occupations Code. First Optometric Glaucoma 
Specialist License
Board Staff Issues First Optometric Glaucoma Specialist License
 
2001
Amendments to Optometry Act remove association membership restrictions for Board Members. Executive Director Lois Ewald retires after 28 years with the Board. Board Members
 
2005
Board completes Sunset Advisory Commission review for third time. House Bill 1025 makes some amendments to Optometry Act, primarily related to enforcement matters. Next Sunset Review is scheduled to begin in 2016.
 
18 Past & Present Board Members at Retirement Dinner for Ms. Ewald
2010
Board signs contract with provider to begin the operation of a Peer Assistance Program to provide assistance to licensees and optometry school students with chemical or mental health issues that would affect the practice of optometry.
 
University of Incarnate Word Logo2013
The agency licenses the first graduates of the Rosenberg School of Optometry at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.
 


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Last Updated: 07/05/2016
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